Chargers vs. Chiefs, Thursday, September 15, 8:15 ET
The first real battle in the division comes on Thursday when we see the young and hungry Los Angeles Chargers take on the new-look Kansas City Chiefs. Herbert vs. Mahomes. Ekeler vs. Edwards-Helaire. Williams vs. Smith-Schuster. There is no lack of star quality here and that doesn’t even touch on Kahlil Mack, Travis Kelce, and more. Who will take this one?
Last season, the two squads played to a split with the Chargers taking the first game in Arrowhead, winning 30-24. The second matchup went the Chiefs way, but it still took an overtime to secure the victory, winning 34-28.
If we are looking just at the line, we see that the Chiefs have an edge of just under 3 on a neutral site and would be probably a pick’em if they were playing in Los Angeles.
Part of me wonders if that is because Mahomes and the Chiefs are more of a public team. I am not fully convinced they are a full four points better than the Chargers.
The Chargers looked really solid against their opening season opponent, the Raiders. Justin Herbert piled up 279 yards and three touchdowns on the season.
Their defense looked very good the first half before the Raiders figured them out a bit in the second half of the game.
Still, the defense was able to force two interceptions and a turnover on downs in the second half. The Chargers offense also slowed down a little bit in the second half. I’m not sure if they started getting complacent or if the changes made at half were just better from Las Vegas.
The Chiefs, on the other hand, didn’t really have much of a challenge at all. My concern for them is their defense, but I must say, they looked pretty good against the Cardinals.
Remember, the Cardinals have some issues offensively with Hopkins out and a new wide receiver, but the scrambling Murray can still cause some issues.
Offensively, the Chiefs looked in mid-season form. Mahomes marched the Chiefs to a touchdown on the first three possessions of the game.
The team actually only needed to punt twice (one fumble as well) and only didn’t score on three of their drives. Now, they have the short turnaround and we need to see if they can replicate their production against a good Chargers team.
If the Chargers want to have a chance to win this game, I think it means that Austin Eckler is a focal point. They will be without Keenan Allen, and that doesn’t mean the passing game is done, but they are clearly missing a strong target for Herbert.
Ekeler gashing the defense not only helps the Chargers, but it hurts the Chiefs twice as running the clock down keeps Mahomes off of the field.
I am taking the under for the first half of the game. It is quite possible that both teams run up and down the field but I expect both to need to establish the run early in the game and we see them feel each other out a bit. I’m playing under 27 at -115 in the first half.
Austin Ekeler at +750 for first touchdown is a prop play I’ll take, and also a shot on away team field goal at +370 for the first score of the game.
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